Crispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I loooove starch: pasta, rice, potatoes, you name it. Especially the noodles and the potatoes.  The trouble with the potatoes though, is that baking them takes a while. Yes, I know you can microwave them, but the texture isn’t right.  Or, you can fry them. That’s faster. On the other hand, cutting up and frying French fries still takes a while, uses lots of oil, and it’s messy.  However, there is a solution! The answer is these crispy garlic basil potato bites.  They’re bite size pieces of crispy, fragrant, fluffy potato heaven.

You cook them in a skillet, with just a couple of teaspoons or so of oil, and a bit of butter. Unlike a baked potato, they’re ready in under 25 minutes!  And the only thing you really need to chop is the potato. Yay!

The potatoes end up crispy and brown on the outside, and creamy on the inside. Almost like French fries (but much easier) and with an extra flavor boost from the garlic and the basil.

I adapted this from a recipe that called for making the dish with sage leaves.  I had none, so I used basil leaves instead. It would also be good with rosemary (preferably fresh). The garlic clove is left whole, so it adds lots of flavor without being overpowering.  Also, the recipe said to peel the potatoes, but I’m lazy, so I didn’t bother.  Besides, more vitamins that way!

Not to mention, it’s an easy side dish that doesn’t require a lot of fussing.  And, it goes well with crispy lemon chicken, a lamb chop, or meatloaf.  You can pop the chicken in the oven and then start the potatoes about half way through. Or, start a lamb chop about halfway through cooking the potatoes.  Great with a hamburger too (you may have spotted them in the background of last week’s newsletter).




Crispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites Substitutions and Variations

  • Use different fresh herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, or sage
  • Add more garlic
  • Try some hot pepper flakes
  • Or, add some crispy bacon
  • Try the potatoes with lemon, garlic, and sage

More Potato Side Dish Recipes

skin on garlic mashed potatoesSkin On Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Creamy, buttery, and sweet (yes sweet) from gently cooked garlic that mellows as it cooks.  My sister-in-law is a potato fiend (worse than me) and this is her favorite.

 

roasted paprika potatoesRoasted Paprika Potatoes

These are tossed in olive oil and dusted with paprika, then cooked slowly in a hot oven.  Crispy outside, fluffy inside.

 

dijon mustard vinaigrette potato saladFrench Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette Potato Salad

Since this is French potato salad, it’s made with olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. No mayo in sight. It’s good for picnics (no mayo), and you don’t even have to peel the potatoes!

dill caper potato saladDill Caper Potato Salad

A staple of barbecues, picnics, and outdoor parties. This one is a bit different from the usual mayonnaise-heavy salad. Instead, it’s got sour/sweet capers and lemony, sweet dill.

 




Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata

There are times when a simple recipe is just the thing. This cherry tomato basil frittata takes only a few minutes to prepare and only requires four primary ingredients (eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and basil).

Despite its simplicity, it’s full of flavor, even though it only has a few ingredients. You don’t necessarily have to fuss for hours or use a long list of twenty ingredients to get something delicious to eat.

The other nice thing is that it uses ordinary pantry/fridge staples you probably already have in your kitchen. No special shopping trip required!

This is adapted from a recipe I cut out from The New York Times (I think) long ago. I added the goat cheese, since I had a little bit left I wanted to use up. If you don’t have goat cheese, use something else. Any relatively mild cheese would do the trick.

I also reduced the servings, and adjusted the cooking time. The beauty of single servings is that it takes a lot less time to cook and prepare. The original recipe called for 6 eggs and a pound of tomatoes!

This is a great quick lunch, weekend brunch, or even breakfast. It only takes a few minutes to make, so it’s great when you’ve got a bad case of the “hungries.” Add a chunk of crusty bread and you’ve got a meal.




Substitutions and Variations for Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata

  • make it with mozzarella cheese or Monterey Jack instead of goat cheese
  • add some fresh spinach
  • use a pinch of red pepper flakes in addition to the black pepper
  • swap the plain goat cheese for herbed goat cheese
  • mix up the tomatoes: try one of those yellow/orange/red tomato blends

More Egg and Frittata Recipes

frittata recipe for one personFrittata Recipe for One Person

A versatile recipe that feeds you and cleans out your fridge at the same time.  Add ham (or not), use zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, or whatever fresh (or frozen) veggies you have around. The only constant is the eggs and the potatoes.

eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Great for breakfast, a light lunch, or brunch.  Spinach, a bit of warm/spicy cumin, and then a gentle kick from chili. And it’s easy and quick too.

 

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin

Think “fast” food, but far tastier than anything from a takeout place.  Fast food that’s so much better than anything from a takeout place. Thyme, garlic, and onions add plenty of flavor and a mouth-watering fragrance. The whole thing is then topped with cheese.

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

Perfect for a quick meal, and ready in minutes.  Just cook the egg, heat up some canned beans, and add chili.

 




Chicken with Peaches and Ginger

I adapted this chicken with peaches and ginger recipe from The New York Times. It’s a delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors and I haven’t tinkered with the ingredients very much.

On the other hand, the preparation and cooking instructions were a problem. The original recipe called for slicing up the chicken thighs into strips, then baking it at high temperature for 20 minutes. I did that the first time I made this and ended up with dry chicken!

The instructions also said to use hard peaches, because unripe peaches are easier to handle and cut up. They probably are, but they’re not as juicy and they don’t taste as nearly as good.

So, I changed the baking time and temperature and swapped hard peaches for ripe ones.

I have used both sherry and brandy for this recipe (though I think the sherry is better). The brandy is sweeter, so it’s a better option if your peaches aren’t as sweet as they should be.  You could also use Cointreau if you have some. I don’t drink enough of any of those to make it worth getting a large bottle, so I get the airline size bottles or at least the smallest bottle I can find.

The revised recipe takes a bit longer, but it’s easy to put together, and doesn’t require a lot of stirring or cutting or steps to make. Just mix up the cut peaches, basil, garlic, brandy, and oil, pour the mixture over the chicken, and throw the whole thing in the oven for an hour.

Make some rice to go with it on the side and maybe some green beans and you’ve got a great, easy dinner.  It’s also easy to scale this up for company.




More Chicken Thigh Recipes for One Person

chicken with tomatoes and olivesChicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

A Jewish recipe from North Africa (yes really).  A bit more zesty than you might expect, with salty olives, sharp garlic, and a rich tomato sauce.

 

chicken mango stir fryQuick Chicken Mango Stir Fry

An Asian-inspired tangle of bright, crispy veggies with the sweetness of mango. Ready in minutes.

 

Vietnamese baked chicken with limeVietnamese Baked Chicken with Lime

Garlic, ginger, and a dash of chili garlic sauce add heat, softened by the sweet citrusy lime. Mix together a marinade, let it sit, and then bake.

 

crispy lemon chicken thighCrispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

A bit like fried chicken, without any frying.  It’s sweet, crispy, and great either hot or cold.

 




Strawberry Basil Mojito with Lime

A strawberry basil mojito is cool, refreshing, and the perfect way to relax after a long, hot, summer day.  Much as I love standard mojitos, this version is even better.

The berries add extra sweetness, the basil adds freshness (and the whole combination just shouts “summer!”). Then you get the added sweet-sour citrus punch from the lime.

I use minimal sugar, particularly in June, when the strawberries are at their peak, but you can add more if you like it sweeter, or if the strawberries aren’t sweet enough.

Coating the edge of the glass with sugar and lime juice transforms your everyday mojito cocktail into something that looks like you got it at an upscale restaurant.

Pour your strawberry mojito into a tall glass, slice yourself some cheese, put out some crackers and olives and you have a party for one. Then, close your eyes and pretend you’re lounging on a soft, white beach surrounded by palm trees. Ahhhhhh.




 

Ingredients and Tools for Making Your Strawberry Mojito


Cuisinart Smart Stick 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender

Use this to make your mojito, for smoothies, to make salad dressing, to puree soups, or for milkshakes.  The cleanup is minimal (just push a button and remove the part with the blades). It comes in lots of colors, so you can get one to match your kitchen.

 

More Strawberry Recipes

strawberry banana yogurt popsicles plateStrawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles

An easy sweet treat, with ingredients you can identify (unlike store-bought popsicles). Delicious and soo refreshing on a hot day.

 

strawberry balsamic grilled cheeseStrawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Take the usual grilled cheese and elevate it by adding strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Not a combination you might expect, but the tangy vinegar offsets the sweet strawberries beautifully.

strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing feta cheeseStrawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

When the strawberries are at their peak, and too good to fuss with, turn them into an entire meal. Add earthy spinach, and salty feta, then top it with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

 




Pistachio Pesto Pasta

This pistachio pesto pasta recipe is a bit different from standard pesto recipes. Most standard pesto recipes use basil and pine nuts.  A great combination, but it’s tough to use up a whole bunch of basil when cooking for one.  Either you have to make a big batch of pesto and freeze it, or it spoils.

I do have a basil plant, but cutting enough off to make pesto would leave me without much of a plant! This is a good compromise.

Plus, pine nuts have gotten awfully expensive.  It does have some basil, but I replaced most of it with broccoli. Then I substituted pistachios for walnuts or pine nuts.

Actually, to be entirely truthful, I ‘stole’ this idea from one of Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. He seemed to like food as much as he enjoyed mysteries and books (my kind of author).

You get the sweet, summery taste of basil, the earthiness of  broccoli, and the crunchiness of the pistachios (use the unsalted kind).  You can use walnuts too, if you prefer.

Not to mention, the broccoli keeps better than basil. And, if you want, you can buy it frozen. That also means less prep time, and less cooking time.

It’s also quick and easy to make (which is always a plus).




 

Pistachio Pesto Pasta Substitutions and Variations

  • Use spinach in the pesto instead of broccoli
  • Skip the greens entirely and make a walnut pesto with walnuts, olive oil, parsley, parmesan, salt, and pepper
  • If you like your pesto spicier, add some chiles
  • Make it with walnuts instead of pistachios

Tools and Ingredients for Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Roasted Unsalted Pistachios

These are freshly roasted (unlike the stale bags you often get in the store), and already have their shells removed, so you don’t have to fuss with cracking them open. Just pour, measure, and eat.

More Pasta Recipes

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausagePasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Salty sausage paired with crispy-tender veggies and pasta. An easy summer meal that’s also versatile. Switch the peppers for snap peas, or asparagus, or whatever other veggies you like.

spicy sesame noodlesSpicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Takeout without takeout. Make this restaurant standard easily at home, with ingredients you likely already have.

 

pasta alla norma with eggplantPasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Rich, tender eggplant in a zippy tomato sauce that’s ready quickly.  Served with a caprese salad.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Pantry-friendly and works with either upscale or budget-friendly ingredients. Just a simple, flavorful meal of linguine, some garlic, olive oil, and a touch of broth.